Friday, February 28, 2014


My kids have been hamming it up for the camera this week!

Lucas lying down on the train table.

Adam rockin' a tux onesie with socks.

Baby shower card

I am sneaking in with a last minute entry for the triple threat week over at Dynamic Duos.

I am also using the sketch from Freshly Made sketch challenge blog, and linking up with the "Let's Feel It" texture challenge over at Cuttlebug Mania.

My card is for my friend's baby shower this weekend, I can't wait! I love the rocking horse stamp, which I coloured using the three challenge colours. I sponged the edges in Desert Sand ink and popped it up on foam tape for some dimension. I also added some pennant and raised dot accents ( to create texture) in the wasabi and melon tones. Some kraft and neutral browns were paired with the colours. I embossed the kraft background and added some patterned paper in the Tangerine colour.

Thanks for looking!

Supplies used:
Creative Memories: Disney Vacation paper pack
CTMH: B is for Baby stamp set, Desert Sand ink, Flamingo Dots, Kraft cardstock, White Daisy cardstock, sponge, adhesive, Foam Tape. 
Provocraft: Embossing Folder
Stampin' Up: River rock, Tangerine Tango, Wild Wasabi and Melon Mambo pens, Pennant punch

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What's Cooking Wednesday #6

Fish cakes are one of those things I have never tried even though they seem so easy. When 5:30 was looming and I had some canned salmon on hand, I flicked through my Million Menus recipe book to find this easy recipe. I love this recipe book, as it has three flip sections so you can mix and match your entrees, mains and desserts, hence the title. I adapted this recipe a bit by baking instead of frying.

Fish Cakes
adapted from a recipe by Million Menus

4 large potatoes, peeled
400g fish- I used canned but you can use fresh if you cook it first
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup wholemeal breadcrumbs made from day old bread

Cut the potatoes into chunks and cook in a large saucepan of boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain well and mash until smooth.

Place the fish, potato, parsley and lemon juice in a bowl and mix. Form into flat, round cakes.

Dust the cakes with flour, then dip them in the egg, then coat thoroughly in breadcrumbs.

Place the fish cakes on an oven tray and allow to chill for at least half an hour.

Bake at 180 degrees C for 15-25 minutes or until golden.

I served these fish cakes with a simple side salad. My nineteen month old son demolished three of these cakes, but my eldest son and my husband weren't too keen on them (hubby doesn't really like fish anyway but the boys do!) I thought they were really good for my first effort at fish cakes, so this will be a good recipe to have on hand when it is just me and my youngest to feed.

Linking up with Wake Up Wednesdays.

Wake Up Wednesdays

Sunday, February 23, 2014


It has been a changeable week, weather wise. One day we are having soaring temperatures, the next day torrential rain and hail. Not the best for my Color Run!

During the hottest day this week, Adam enjoyed having the pool out to cool off.

Lucas saying cheese!

Joining in here.

The Happiest 5k

This morning marked a huge occasion in my life. For the last three years, I have been saying that I will run a 5k and a 10k before I turn 30. Excuses, life situations and guilt have stopped me so many times. But in January this year, my Dad suggested I come along to his running group. I had only ever managed about 3 minutes of running before slowing down to a walk, so I told my Dad I would probably walk the whole session. What happened next....I ran for 50 minutes. Well, jogged slowly. But I was doing it, and from then on I was hooked.

The group meets every Saturday, and now I am running 8-12 kilometers most weeks. This works in so well with my lifestyle, as I am a social person, and running with other people pushes me harder than if I was just running around the street by myself. I also struggle to run with the buggy when I take my 19 month old son with me, so this way I can run without worrying about him.

When I saw The Color Run was coming to Christchurch, I thought about it a lot. I went to sign up a couple of times but it was only when I saw friends do it in Auckland and I read Arron's account that I finally got the drive to do it. My Dad said he would do it with me and we signed up together.

I woke up this morning to rain, Lots of rain. And wind. Eating breakfast, I was listening to the wind howl and getting really nervous. Dad came over to pick me up and the sun briefly shone.

However, by the time we got to the course it was hosing down. I was drenched before we started, and freezing!

The run itself was a lot of fun, even though I was wet and cold. I wasn't even focused on the distance, it was watching out for mud, puddles and poo that had my full attention! The Color Run helpers made sure everyone was motivated, and did a great job colouring us up and cheering us on.

I finished in 32 minutes- the rain motivated me to finish as fast as possible without slipping over or crashing into other runners! It was a shame it was so wet, as we just wanted to go home and get dry. I was supposed to meet my husband and kids at the finish line and get some photos, but it was just too wet and cold. A nice man in the parking lot managed to snap this photo though.

At least I can now say I have done the Color Run! By the time I got home the sun was shining, so I managed to get a photo of my colourful outfit before hitting the shower and warming up.

Now I am on the hunt for my 10k challenge.Running has given me something to challenge myself, and spending the time with my Dad is also a bonus. I would love to hear if anyone else has done the Color Run!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Virtual Book Club For Kids (Paul Galdone)

This month's featured author for the Kids Virtual Book Club is Paul Galdone, who has written and illustrated many classic stories from our childhood.

The book we chose to read was The Gingerbread Boy.

Lucas particularly liked the cheeky fox at the end of the story, who gobbles up the Gingerbread Boy! Because of this, we decided to make a fox cake.

We took two layers of chocolate sponge and sandwiched them together with a strawberry ganache filling made from chopped strawberries, melted white chocolate, icing sugar and butter.

The entire sponge was iced with a white buttercream, and then we piped the outside in orange buttercream using the Wilton 233 tip, leaving some of the white to show through. I used my homemade black modelling chocolate to create the eyes and nose, and some white fondant to create the ears and the centre of the eyes.

The cake was delicious, and we gobbled it up just like the fox gobbles up the Gingerbread Boy!

I am linking up with Virtual Book Club for Kids, Weekly Kids Co-Op and Mom's Library.

The original idea for the fox cake can be found here.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What's Cooking Wednesday #5

Each week, I am trying out a recipe from one of my recipe books. This recipe comes from the Best Of Annabel Langbein cookbook again, as she has some fabulous recipes.

My eldest son cracks me up- while we were trying this week's dinner he proclaimed; "it's not too bad, only a little bit bad." I took that as a compliment though as all my family had clean plates after this dinner, which was perfect after an extremely hot day.

Thai Beef Salad
adapted from The Best Of Annabel Langbein

4 thick beef fillet steaks (about 500g)
1 red onion, finely diced
1/2 cucumber, cut into thin strips
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup mint leaves (I chopped these very finely)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce
1 teaspoon minced coriander
1 tablespoon lime juice

Grill or pan fry the beef to your liking. Cool, then cut into slices. Mix with the combined dressing ingredients then toss with the remaining salad ingredients.

I served this mixed through with some cold angel hair noodles to make it more filling, but you could serve this as is or with rice, rice noodles or over a lettuce mix.

As I mentioned above, everyone really liked this. I added the chilli sauce to only the adult portions, and it was not too overpowering.

Linking up with Wake Up Wednesdays.

Wake Up Wednesdays

Sunday, February 16, 2014


This week I have done a lot more structured play with my children, and the benefits have been huge for the whole family. No longer have I been left wondering how to fill in the last two hours before dinner, or trying to cram in an activity when the kids are tired and less than cooperative.

Lucas was so excited to go for a bike ride in the forest.

We had so much fun playing dress up and Adam looked like such a little dude in these glasses.

Joining in over here.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Boost Your Blog Challenge

Welcome to Boost Your Blog in 100 Days! I'm so excited you have chosen to take this journey with me and my dear challenge hostesses! I hope to get to meet you a little bit along the way via facebook, twitter, pinterest, or your blog. My goal for this 100 days is to spruce up our blogs together and kick our usage and understanding of Social Media into high gear.

 Who doesn't need a fun way to Boost Your Blog in 2014? I'm trying to make 2014 my best blogging year yet, and I would love to get to know more bloggers and cheer each other along in the process. That's where Boost Your Blog in 100 Days comes into play. This series will be conducted in 10 day challenges covering topics such as Twitter, SEO, Blog Post Topics, Pinterest, and getting more blog traffic. I definitely need help with some of these!

boost blog 400 host

  Why did Thaleia choose 100 Days? Well, to be honest I am a very, very busy mom of 4 children 11 years and under. I do not have extra time to spend laboring over by blog and Social Media. I want results and habits that can transform the limited time I have into something incredible. Spreading out 10 challenges over 10 days each just sounds better to me. Spending just 10-15 minutes a day versus an hour or two makes more sense to me. Easing into each new challenge should help create a habit a little easier. This will also give you a better understanding of why a particular challenge should be done daily or weekly and how it has helped you. Quick clarification- anyone with a blog CAN participate. I did seek out an initial 100 bloggers to help promote this series in exchange I am using their blogs to direct people to during the 10 days of Comments Challenge. Hope I have not confused anyone. You may do one or all 10 challenges at your own pace or join in daily.

Meet the Hostesses:

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Honey Rowland blogs at Honeys Life about homeschooling, family life and green living. With a passion for self sufficiency and natural, special needs parenting you'll learn about everything from natural, local foods to essential oils and homeopathy to gardening and farm life. Honey has also turned the constant 'talks too much' report card comments into a home business. She runs social media while obtaining new sponsors and advertisers for herself and other bloggers. So whether you're curious about chickens or children, ask...'cause she's dabbled and babbled in just about everything.


Michelle Marine blogs at Simplify, Live, Love where she shares down to earth tips for the thoughtful mama. Michelle. along with her husband, 4 kids and a bunch of animals, lives sustainably in barn on 5 acres in rural Eastern Iowa. Michelle is an avid gardener and from-scratch cook of real food; she cans produce, homeschools, and teaches community college classes in addition to blogging. Her husband is building their forever home to the German Passive House standards and they plan to live off grid yet still enjoy modern conveniences. Simplify, Live, Love chronicles their attempts to live sustainably and strives to remind people to live simply and frugally yet still enjoy life.  

Michelle Simplify Live love

Martiel Beatty from Amazing Success Academy specializes in helping artists build online businesses and blogs. She is a fiber artist, expert blogger, author of Blog Notes, and GIMP Wizard. She is also the founder of Sewmantra and started the Academy because she couldn’t find an affordable, knowledgeable and effective program that supported handmade, indie-artists. Find out how she can help you build your business today. Learn More Now!

lisa family

Lisa Nelson from The Squishable Baby focuses on creating positive learning experiences through everyday life. I believe that learning about – and respecting diversity, different religions, other cultures, charity, and our environment – through play, through crafts, through lessons, through giving – will not only produce more empathetic children and adults – but will put a child on a path to a love of lifelong learning.

Thaleia 300 light

Thaleia Maher blogs at Something 2 Offer where she is generous in giving advice and helping others find free resources that meet their needs; be it for homeschool or life! She is a BIG researcher who wants to encourage families on their homeschool journey. Wife to high school sweetheart. Mother of four (including 2 little reds!), Sister, Daughter, Christ-Follower, Talkative, Creative. Hoping to figure this whole life, blogger, social media thing out! So be sure to keep tabs on her journey of life.

The topics for this 100 day challenge are:
 Days 1-10: Leave 100 Comments with Thaleia begins Feb 15.
 Days 11-20: Grammar Mistakes Bloggers Make with Michelle
 Days 21-30: Using Twitter with Honey
 Days 31-40: Topics for 100 Blog Posts with Martiel
We will reveal more soon! So stay tuned! Want an email reminder when a new Boost Your Blog challenge goes live ? Sign-up! We will work together over 100 days to improve our blogs and social media. We will learn from all sorts of experienced bloggers who are making blogging work!

Don't just sit there: tell your friends, tweet about it, share on Facebook, pin this post, add it to your !

WIPocalypse 2014 February

I am ashamed to say I have only done one day of cross-stitching in the last four weeks- life has been so busy and I find it a lot easier to make a card or do some baking then pull out my cross stitch.

February's topic for WIPocalypse is talking about how many projects we have in progress at a time and our rotation or on-at-a-time habits.

As you can tell from my first post, I have no problem with having lots of different projects on the go! I think my problem is that I tend to want to complete a lot of bigger projects, which can sometimes overwhelm me a bit. I did a small Christmas one within a couple of weeks, but the birth samplers are 11x14 size and it can be cumbersome to get them out.

As of today, I have five works in progress. Usually I only have one or two, but as I mentioned, I came across my mother's stash and I am finishing them for her as well, which makes my project list bigger. Thankfully I have no immediate plans to buy any other cross stitch charts or kits, so I really need to get focused on finishing what I have started, as I am not comfortable having so many unfinished projects!

I will try to finish off my projects in the basis of importance, and then by how much is left to do. My first birth sampler is nearly complete, so that should be easy to finish. The second most important is the other birth sampler, which I need to have finished by July. If I can finish those two by then, I will be happy.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What's Cooking Wednesday #4

This week for my recipe I am using a cookbook that I won a while ago and never really read through. It is called Minced by Sue Hamilton and Dana Alexander, and it is all about using minced meats (ground meat for you overseas) and making everyday food. With two meat loving children this might just be my new go-to book!

I love a good pizza, but buying one from the supermarket or takeaway shop can get quite pricey and my children pick off half the toppings. In Minced, a recipe for Meatball Pizza caught my eye. I changed the recipe slightly to make the pizza dough in my breadmaker instead of by hand, but you can always do it traditionally. I also used bottled pizza sauce instead of making my own, as I somehow ended up with two bottles of it in my fridge.

Meatball Pizza
adapted  from Minced by Sue Hamilton and Dana Alexander

Pizza dough
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups high grade flour
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon Italian herbs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon active dried yeast

250g beef mince
1/2 cup wholegrain breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper to taste

3 tablespoons pizza sauce
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Place the dough ingredients in your breadmaker in order listed and set to dough method. Once the breadmaker has completed, place the dough in a bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise for 40 minutes. This dough makes enough for two bases, so you can put one aside for another day.

Meanwhile, mix the mince, breadcrumbs, seasoning and egg in a large bowl.

Place half of the dough on a floured tray and roll to the desired size.

To assemble, spread the base with the pizza sauce. Spoon tablespoons of the mince mixture into your hands and form into balls, placing on top of the pizza vase. Add a generous amount of mozzarella cheese.

Bake in a hot oven at 200 degrees C until the cheese is golden and the meatballs are cooked through, around 20-30 minutes.

The verdict:

I couldn't wipe the smile off my face during this meal- this is hands down the most successful pizza I have made. The base was thin and crispy, the meatballs were a great topping and all of my family enjoyed it. Because I have a second base left, I am going to make this again very soon.

Joining in with Wake Up Wednesdays.

Wake Up Wednesdays

Sunday, February 9, 2014


A portrait of my children once a week in 2014.

With both children under the weather, it has been hard to take a non-snotty photo of them this week! However, the weekend has definitely perked them up a bit and I am getting some smiles again.

Lucas with his blueberries at Blueberry Bliss farm.

Adam's cute concentration face- I love the way his personality is really showing through now!

Linking up here.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What's Cooking Wednesday #3

This week I am featuring another great New Zealand cook- Jo Seagar. Her brownie is my most requested recipe, and she makes a mean potato bake!

My family went berry picking in the weekend and got a huge amount of blueberries.

I turned to Jo Seagar Cooks for her Lemon Crust Blueberry Muffins. Muffins are my baking nemesis- I always end up with flat, dense muffins but Jo Saegar hasn't let me down yet.

Lemon Crust Blueberry Muffins
adapted from Jo Seagar Cooks

1 egg
1/4 cup oil
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
grated rind of one lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup blueberries
50 grams butter, melted
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1.4 cup caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Spray a 12 hole muffin tray with non-stick baking spray.
Mix the egg, oil, milk, sugar, lemon rind and juice together in a large bowl until well combined. Add the flour, baking powder and blueberries and mix until just combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tray and cook for 30-35 minutes. (I was a little surprised at the long cooking time but mine needed 33 minutes).
Whisk the melted butter and lemon juice together. Remove tray from the oven and brush the hot muffins with the butter and lemon mixture, then sprinkle generously with caster sugar. Leave in the tray until cool enough to handle, then remove to cool further on a wire rack.

These were bursting with berry deliciousness and the topping was so yummy. These would be best eaten on the day you make them. as the next day the topping has soaked into the muffin and so the texture was not as nice. But every bite was full of blueberry and lemon flavour, so I will give these a thumbs up!

Linking up with Wake Up Wednesdays!

Wake Up Wednesdays

Sunday, February 2, 2014


February already- it is going to be a big month! We have the impending arrival of a new nephew, lots of birthdays to go to and our wedding anniversary to celebrate.

My boys took a peaceful moment the other day and were reading books together. I love these sweet moments captured on film.

Joining in here to take a portrait of my children every week in 2014.

Get Well Wishes

One of my good friends underwent an operation recently, and so a card wishing her a speedy recovery was needed.

I used Elegant Eggplant and Wisteria Wonder cardstock and ink, as well as the Reason To Smile and Teeny Tiny Sentiments stamp sets. I used the scallop square punch to do the sentiment square. Still need a bit of practice with my two step stamp sets but I am getting there!

Thanks to FMS and CASology for the inspiration for this card.

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